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Guards key pressure defense as Yellow Jackets roll

ATLANTA -- Coach Paul Hewitt ideally wants Georgia Tech's offense to flow through big men Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors.

Now Hewitt just needs to create more scoring chances for Lawal.

"I'm concerned we're not getting him more shots," the coach said. "He's really improved his free-throw shooting. His offensive game is getting better."

Mfon Udofia scored 17 points, and Favors had 13 points and 11 rebounds as the two freshmen helped Georgia Tech (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today) earn its second straight win, 78-43 over Winston-Salem State on Tuesday.

The Yellow Jackets (10-2) have won eight of 10, but Lawal, whose 13.7 scoring average leads the team, took only three shots from the field and finished with two points.

"He's a better free-throw shooter, and his jumper from 15 feet is improving," Hewitt said. "We have to do a better job of getting him the ball."

With a starting lineup that included guards Udofia, D'Andre Bell, Maurice Miller, Georgia Tech had the pressure it needed to force 31 turnovers, a season high for the Rams (2-8).

"We play in streaks, bad streaks then good streaks," said Udofia, who had three assists and four turnovers. "We have to work on keeping our intensity all the way."

Miscues by Winston-Salem State led to 34 points for the Yellow Jackets. The Rams failed to score a second-half point until the 12:56 mark, when two free throws by Brian Fisher cut the lead to 50-20.

"It was one of the toughest games I've ever had to coach mainly because of lack of discipline," Winston-Salem State coach Bobby Collins said. "With 31 turnovers, you aren't going to beat very many teams or even give yourself a chance to be in games."

Zachery Peacock had 13 points and seven rebounds for Georgia Tech.

Hewitt hopes starting guard Iman Shumpert could return Saturday when Georgia Tech visits North Carolina-Charlotte. Shumpert, who's been sidelined since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery Dec. 3, gives Hewitt another reliable ball handler to make inside passes to Lawal and Favors.

After winning just two games last season in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Hewitt knows the Jackets' best chance to win is to maximize the presence of Favors, who could go high in the NBA draft, and Lawal, a potential first-round pick as a junior.

Favors is averaging 12.9 points and nine rebounds. Lawal is averaging 9.7 rebounds, but he scored only four points on 1 for 7 shooting against Florida State and took just six shots in an 11-point performance in last week's win over Kennesaw State.

"We know as a group what we have to do," Hewitt said. "I think that has been established, going all the way back to [a three-game trip last month to] Puerto Rico where we saw the good and the bad. Obviously we need to stick with the good."

Fisher led the Rams with nine points, but the senior guard from nearby Marietta also had a game-high eight turnovers.

Marcus Wells' layup at the 5:47 mark of the first half brought Winston-Salem State within eight points, but the Jackets went on a 26-2 run that ended when Miller's 3-pointer made it 50-18 with 13:57 remaining.

After starting for the first time this season, Miller could return to a reserve role when Shumpert comes back. Miller made 35 starts in his first two seasons at Georgia Tech.

"We have a lot of confidence in each other," Miller said. "We're on the same page."